Two Recent Cases from the Court of Appeals

State v. Perez-Garcia, 295 Or. App. 156 (2018): At trial, defendant wanted to prove that the complainant’s sexual abuse allegations were false by introducing extrinsic evidence of prior false allegations against the defendant that may have influenced the complainant’s disclosure. Whatever the merits of this strategy, defendants have a constitutional right to present the defense of their choice — a right that is deeply rooted in the due process clause of the federal constitution and its state constitutional equivalent. The Court of Appeals nonetheless agreed with the trial court, which refused to allow the defense to present this evidence, holding that it was collateral and would lead to confusion, delay, and prejudice. Nevada v. Jackson, the 2013 Supreme Court case that cast a wet blanket on right-to-present-a-defense arguments nationwide, was also a sex offense case.

In State v. Setere, 295 Or. App. 509 (2018), the defendant was convicting of 43 counts of felony animal neglect– you can read more about the sad facts here. Animal neglect is usually a misdemeanor, but under ORS 167.325(3)(b), episodes involving eleven animals or more can be charged as a single felony. In this case, however, the prosecution went one step further and charged the defendant with a felony for each individual animal victim. The case went to a jury trial and the defendant was found guilty. She appealed, contending that the trial court should have merged the verdicts into one felony conviction, but to no avail. Read more about animal hoarding, a debilitating disorder affecting millions of Americans, in this recent Science article.

 

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